AP-NORC poll: Many black Americans doubtful on police reform

According to a new poll, not many Americans believe significant progress has been made in the last half century in achieving equal treatment for black people regarding interactions with police and criminal justice system.

The poll was conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and concluded that most Americans across racial and ethnic groups believe more progress is necessary.

Still, black Americans, many of whom held high expectations for Democratic promises on racial justice initiatives in 2020, are now particularly pessimistic that more progress will be made in the upcoming years.

Just about a quarter of Americans believe there has been a great deal or a lot of progress in the fight for racial equality in both policing and criminal justice. Another third responded that there’s been “some” progress. 

An overwhelming majority of adults, though, say more progress is needed before there is true racial equality, including about half who say “a lot” more progress. “There’s more attention around certain issues and there’s a realization – more people are waking up to a lot of corruption in the system,” commented Derek Sims, a 35-year-old bus driver, who is black, residing in Austin, Texas.

He says he is more optimistic than pessimistic that positive change will take place, but he added, “People don’t really want to come together and hash out ideas. There’s just too much tribalism.” 

In 2020, after the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis, many Americans of various racial and ethnic backgrounds called for criminal justice reforms in nationwide protests. In Congress, consensus on reforms, through the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, has still not been reached despite two years passing.

“What we saw from the George Floyd case, we in the black community know that those officers were found guilty because of the outcry,” said DeAnna Hoskins, the president and CEO of JustLeadershipUSA.

“The only reason why you get results is because there was an outcry that included black and white people. You’ve got a much larger voter base saying something has to be done,” she added.




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